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The pandemic drove people to buy more online, and some of those buying habits are sticking

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: A hand-truck with Amazon packages waits to be delivered on December 27, 2019

Online shopping has surged during the pandemic, according to data from Adobe, But inflation accounts for a significant portion of that growth. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

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Americans have spent $1.7 trillion shopping online since the pandemic began, according to new data from Adobe. That’s significantly more than they spent in the two years before the pandemic. 

And this year? Adobe estimates Americans are on track to spend even more online. 

These last two years, people have been buying a whole lot more of all kinds of things online. “But what really seems to have separated here is grocery and consumable categories have just taken off, versus where they were pre-pandemic,” said Joel Rampoldt, a managing director at AlixPartners.

Before, most people didn’t like the idea of letting someone else pick out their meat and vegetables. But many tried it for the first time, during COVID-19 and are sticking with it. 

“Buy online, pick up in store seems to be continuing to grow as home delivery falls off a little bit,” Rampoldt said.

A big part of the reason people are spending more money online is that they’re buying more things. But those things are also costing more.

“We’re also finding inflation is driving some of this growth,” said Adobe’s Vivek Pandya.

Right now, “inflation is accounting for about 30% of the overall growth we’re seeing in online,” Pandya said.

So far, though, rising prices have not slowed demand at all, and Pandya said people are doing more online shopping now than ever.

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